Further fueling a corruption scandal involving Los Angeles police officers, Superior Court Commissioner Michael G. Price said Monday he was dismissing the charge against Jose Luis Oliverria.
Price said the prosecution didn't turn over a tape-recorded interview with a key witness who told the Los Angeles Times that LAPD officers coerced him into falsely identifying Oliverria as the killer. He also said the judge didn't allow testimony that the murder weapon was found in another man's possession.
The witness, Evelio "Rudy" Carrillo, later recanted his allegation against police, but then told a defense lawyer the allegation was true.
It's the second dismissal of a murder case amid charges of misconduct by police. Prosecutors dropped a murder charge in August after the sole eyewitness claimed he also was coerced by an LAPD sergeant into identifying a suspect.
The investigation of police corruption within the Rampart anti-gang unit between 1995 and 1998 has led to charges being dismissed or overturned in about 100 tainted cases, and the convictions earlier this month of three police officers.
A judge is currently looking into allegations that the jury in that case was biased.
An alternate juror has claimed the foreman said he thought the cops were guilty before testimony began, and that jurors talked about the case during the trial, violating instructions to not discuss the case until deliberations.
Another alternate juror denied those charges Tuesday. The judge scheduled a Dec. 15 hearing on the matter.
The three convicted officers were the first to be tried on charges based on the allegations of ex-Officer Rafael Perez, who said officers beat, robbed, framed and sometimes shot innocent people in the city's tough Rampart neighborhood near downtown.
Dozens of officers have quit or been suspended, and Police Chief Bernard Parks has said more officers likely will be prosecuted.